The Dio Message Board recently conducted an interview with former DIO guitarist Rowan Robertson. A few excerpts from the interview follow:
The Dio Message Board: Is it true you almost replaced Craig [Goldy] after September 11th and have you talked to Ronnie recently?
Rowan Robertson: "No, it's not true. What happened is that Craig had to take time off from the band as his wife was having a baby, so Ronnie asked if I'd just fill in for a tour. It got to the rehearsal stage but the tour was cancelled because of September 11.
"I haven't actually spoken to [Ronnie] in a little while. I'm a bit out of the loop. DIO are touring all over the world right now."
The Dio Message Board: My favourite "Lock Up the Wolves" track is "My Eyes". Some memories to share with us about it?
Rowan Robertson: "Yeah, 'My Eyes' is a special song. Memories? Well, I remember one rehearsal, Ronnie asked me to come up with a 'pretty' accoustic intro type thing... Then he found the change where it goes to 'I'm falling off the edge of the world...' It took him a while to find where he wanted to go with it, but when he found it, all bets were off!
The Dio Message Board: Did you work with Jimmy Bain and Vinny Appice in the early "Lock Up the Wolves" sesions, before they were out of the band? What do you remember about it?
Rowan Robertson: "Yes, in fact that was the line up for most of the writing sessions. The band changes came toward the end of the writing time. Well, I remember it well. Jimmy was introducing me to the Rainbow Bar and Grill on a nightly basis... I had two big loud Marshall stacks to play through and it was a great time!"
The Dio Message Board: I heard something that you did lately and I noticed a different kind of music being played by you compared to the DIO album you did!!! Why these changes, and what are your real influences in music?
Rowan Robertson: "Well, I have gone through some changes in these years because... Well, I had to find my way and find what I really wanted to do. DIO came for me at such an early age, I was still trying to figure out just exactly what I wanted to be... Now of course I know that I am is exactly what I want to be. But of course, life isn't easy and it takes time to figure these things out. Also of course, being that the whole scene changed in '94-ish, there was no place for my kind of playing overnight. I needed to work so I had to adapt. Either that or get a job pouring bloody coffee!!!
"As for my influences, well, BEATLES, JIMI HENDRIX, THE POLICE, AC/DC, DEEP PURPLE, STATUS QUO, Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, so many... but I have to say when I heard AC/DC, it was all over."
The Dio Message Board: Looking back at the time you were in DIO, what are your feelings on that period today? At the time there was a lot of tension in the band when you first joined and the original members all ended up walking out (or being fired for very petty things) and because they didn't agree with Ronnie on many things. How did you feel to see these musicians go and the new ones arrive?
Rowan Robertson: "Well, you're not quite right in what you say about the way things went down with the band lineup changes. Certainly no one was fired for petty things or disagreeing with Ronnie!!! But as the changes happened, it was what you would expect. Very mixed feelings. You must remember I was a kid. I had only been away from my country for a few months. This was an adjustment period for me. The lineup changes were just a part of these huge crazy upheavals I was going through! Sad to see them go, but happy to find new friends. Who couldn't be happy to have a new pal like Jens Johansson!"
The Dio Message Board: Most talented musicians play all kinds of music so I wonder if you are working on a heavy album?
Rowan Robertson: "I'm glad you asked that question, and thank you for the compliment. Yes, I am. I'm working with a bassist/composer, Marko Pukkila, in Finland on putting a new hard rock band together. We haven't setled on a name yet, but it looks like we may call it WICKED OUTLAW. We're both very excited about it and are in the preliminary stages of sending songs back and forth, honing the style... etc. It's the first time in ages that I have felt the freedom and excitement of putting something together which is going to kick some serious ass and be FUN. As yet it's just the two of us, so we don't have a drummer or singer... You may know Marko from his band in Finland, ALTARIA. they have a web site — AltariaMusic.com. As far as the style of it, well, you'll just have to wait and see..."
Read the entire interview in the "Don't Talk to Strangers" forum at The Dio Message Board (free registration required).